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Nation sees rise in workplace deaths

Update: September, 05/2012 - 09:14

 

Construction workers work without safety equipment. A recent report showed that fatal workplace accidents nationwide increased 9 per cent in the first six months this year, compared to the same period last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Viet
HA NOI — HCM City and Ha Noi are the two cities with the most fatal work accidents over the first half of the year with 40 and 17 cases respectively, according to a recent report by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on work accidents during the reviewed period.

The report also revealed that during the first six months, there was a 9-per-cent increase in fatal work accidents throughout the country compared to the same period last year, although the total number of work accidents had decreased by 13 per cent from over 3,530 to 3,060.

However, the number of fatal work accidents in both cities of Ha Noi and HCM has slightly decreased.

HCM City also saw a 54 per cent decrease in the total number of work accidents.

Southeastern Dong Nai Province led the list of cities and provinces with the largest number of work accidents - nearly 960 cases - followed by HCM City with 420 cases.

Southeastern Binh Duong Province, northeastern Quang Ninh Province and Ha Noi also saw many work accidents, while no work accidents were reported in the Mekong Delta's Tra Vinh Province.

Phan Dang Tho, MOLISA's deputy chief inspector, told the Voice of Viet Nam newspaper, however, that statistics of work accidents were only "relatively correct" as enterprises did not want to report these cases, but he noted that figures of fatal accidents could be trusted.

Work accidents over the first half of the year have reportedly caused damages worth VND80.5 billion (over US$3.83 million), a decrease by around 18 per cent against the same period last year.

MOLISA's report cited workers' lack of respect towards work safety regulations as a leading reason for work accidents, followed by employers' failure to conduct safety training for their workers and failure to equip the workers with safety equipment.

Construction and mineral exploitation are the two sectors with the most reported work accidents.

Duong Van Thin, deputy head of the safety committee of the Viet Nam National Coal - Mineral Industries Holding Corporation (VINACOMIN), which employed more than 10,000 people in the coal sector, cited employers' failure to take labour safety measures and create a safe working environment and workers' lack of self-protection skills and low awareness as leading reasons.

Thin said VINACOMIN had issued a regulation to punish those in managing positions for allowing fatal work accidents to occur due to negligence and another regulation to reward managers for meeting safety targets.

He said his corporation had set a goal of reducing work accidents by over 10 per cent every year.

"No matter how much an enterprise invests in safety equipment and technology, if they does not take seriously the need of raising management and training capacity and of raising the awareness of employees and those in management positions about work safety, they would not be able to ensure complete safety."

MOLISA's report pointed out that investigations of fatal work accidents had been slow. As of August 17, the Ministry has received investigation reports for only 92 cases out of the 279 fatal accidents which occurred during the first half of the year.

The report also indicated that there had been no report of employers being prosecuted for allowing serious work accidents to happen.

At a recent conference on work safety promotion, Ha Tat Thang, head of MOLISA's Labour Safety Department addressed the importance of developing the Labour Safety and Hygiene Law, which was set to take effect by 2015.

Thang said MOLISA had been assigned by the Prime Minister to develop the law from 2012 onwards and submit its draft to the National Assembly for approval by 2014. — VNS

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